The Tinusaur team was at the BETT Show in London

Meet Tinusaur team at BETT show London ExCeL

The Tinusaur Project is an educational platform that provides students, teachers, and makers with the tools to learn, teach and make things. We’ve been developing this since 2013 and it started because we needed such tools for our own courses. It is now used in a few schools and universities, both private and government in Bulgaria. The education, whether formal or informal, has always been the focus of the Tinusaur. Naturally, the BETT Show in London is one of the most interesting events of the year in that field.

BETT Show in London
BETT Show in London

The BETT Show is an annual trade show focused on innovations and technology in education. It takes place in London, United Kingdom, and started in 1985.

BETT Show in London
BETT Show in London – Learning Robotics

The Tinusaur team is at the BETT Show, of course, for the second time and it is great here!

BETT Show in London
BETT Show in London – Learning Robotics

What you immediately notice is that everyone has some sort of a robot – a car that you could control to make movements based on an algorithm, or a human-like stumping robot. And those who don’t have a robot – have at least a snapping blocks with electronics like LEDs, motors, servos, etc. that you could program with a Scratch-like environment. This sort of toys becomes a standard for education in electronics, robotics, and programming.

BETT Show in London
BETT Show in London – “Real” Robot

To us, this is a bit disconcerting. Most of those products turn education into a game or playing. Gamification is not just creating a game with which you might (or might no) learn something. It is rather implying the using of game-design elements to improve the process of learning without compromising the process of acquiring knowledge. Another concern that we have is that once you’re done with the playing and you have accomplished the task part of the educational toy you have to put it away and that’s it – you cannot use it to create something useful and practical.

BETT Show in London
BETT Show in London – Learning Robotics

We, at Tinusaur, are trying to avoid the downgrading of the educational part. That is why our kits may look a bit difficult and tedious at first. For the same reason, we decided to focus on C language programming, instead of some other scripting language.

Blocktinu WebUI
Blocktinu WebUI

Another thing we’re trying to do is make the kits equally good for learning and making. We think this is what makes us different. Our goal, from the very beginning, has been to create a platform where everything you learn and create could be used at a later point for something real, useful and practical. And over the years we found out that students really appreciate that.

Tinusaur OLED Display Кit
Tinusaur OLED Display Кit

The Tinusaur OLED Display Kit is a very good example for that.

  • You learn how to solder and assemble the boards and the modules.
  • You learn how to program the microcontroller, read the sensor data and visualize it on the display.
  • You could later use the boards and optionally add other sensors and create something that you could use at home.
  • Your imagination is the limit.

We have just launched a crowdfunding campaign for the Tinusaur OLED Kit.

Help us start the production of the Tinusaur OLED boards. Go get your own Tinusaur OLED Kit.

Meet the Tinusaur team at the FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium

Tinusaur Team at FOSDEM

We are launching a crowdfunding campaign for the Tinusaur OLED Display Kit and this its page: https://www.crowdsupply.com/tinusaur/oled-display-kit


Meet the Tinusaur team at the FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium on February 2nd and 3rd.

Would you like to contact us and meet at the event or have a question about our platform? Fill out the form below.


Writing Sprint in Sofia – Creating Guides for the Tinusaur Project

Tinusaur Writing Sprint Sofia

Last week we held 2-day (on November 10th and 11th) technical writing sprint.

The goal was to write some of the missing technical documentation for the Tinusaur project and more specifically the guide how to assemble your Tinusaur Board. 14 people participated – THANKS A LOT for helping us!

Tinusaur Writing Sprint Sofia
Assembling the Tinusaur Board

The documentation is not quite finished yet but it was a good start.

The final version will be available at tinusaur.github.io.

We would like to have the guides and the tutorials copied from the Tinusaur GitHub repository over to this blog here that is hosted at WordPress.com. Any suggestions how to do it more efficiently (without copying and pasting files and content from one website to another) will be really appreciated.

Who helped us:

Tinusaur Writing Sprint Sofia

GitHub repository for the guides: https://github.com/tinusaur/guides

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/216119712260357/

 

Workshop: Assembling the Tinusaur Kit in Varna, Bulgaria

Tinusaur Workshop VarnaLab Varna Bulgaria

This Saturday, September 2nd, we will have one day workshop for assembling the Tinusaur kits for those who supported our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. It will take place in Varna, Bulgaria, our host will be VarnaLab – the local hackerspace.

Tinusaur Board Parts

We will learn the basics of electronic components, microcontrollersATtiny85 in particular and, of course, how to solder.

We will bring to the workshop soldering irons and all the necessary materials to do the job. Also, for those who were not able to get one of the kits during our Indiegogo campaign, we will have some for sale.

Tinusaur Workshop

At the moment we can organize such workshops only in Bulgaria but we’d really like to start doing this in other countries. Volunteers are very welcome. 🙂

This is the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/842138465944360/
If you’re around, you’re welcome to come.

 

Another two-day workshop about microcontrollers, soldering and Tinusaur

Another two-day workshop about microcontrollers, soldering and Tinusaur

There was another “Microcontrollers, soldering and Tinusaurworkshop in our town of Veliko Tarnovo, few days ago..

The first day we assembled some boards, the second day we wrote some programs.

For the younger kids, there were much simpler things to do – soldering blinking LED with 2 transistors, few other components, and a battery.

Day 1

Just assembling various boards.

Tinusaur Board

This is the Tinusaur Board from the Tinusaur Starter 2 kit.

Tinusaur Board Parts

It wasn’t difficult for anyone to do that. There are markings on the PCB that tell you where to put each component and in what direction.

The only important thing to know is that you solder the RESET button last, before that you solder the batter socket on the bottom side of the PCB.

Tinusaur Shield LEDx2

This is the Shield LEDx2 from the Tinusaur Starter 2 kit.

Tinusaur Shield LEDx2 Parts

This shield is an upgrade from the previous Tinusaur Starter where we had to solder the LED and the resistor to a tiny 2-pin male header. With the shield is so much easier and fun.

LED Matrix 8×8 with MAX7219 Controller

This is a LED matrix 8×8 with a MAX7219 controller.

LED Matrix 8x8 MAX7219 Controller

That was something new. They sell on eBay at very affordable price: http://www.ebay.com/itm/191736585164

Even while we’re soldering it people were coming with ideas what we could do with it.

Day 2

The second day was dedicated to programming what we’ve assembled the previous day.

Software and Arduino IDE Setup

That’s how we started the day 2.

Short guide about how to setup the Arduino IDE to work with the Tinusaur boards is available at Arduino IDE Setup page.

Blinking LED

The “Hello, World!” in the microcontrollers’ world.

Source code available at https://bitbucket.org/tinusaur/tutorials/src/default/tut004a_blinking_leds/.

Separate blog post and tutorial page will be available soon.

LED Matrix 8×8

The biggest challenge here was to make the MAX7219LED8x8 library to work in the Arduino IDE environment.

We’ll do another post about that in the next few days.

 

Our first workshop for this year

Tinusaur Workshop Soldering Plovdiv Hackafe

Our first workshop for this year took place couple of weeks ago in Plovdiv at Hackafe. It was part of a much larger event about microcontrollers, robotics and internet-of-things.

This time, it was for 2 days and in 3 parts.

Part 1 (day 1) was an introduction to the microcontrollers for everyone that was just starting – short 30 minutes presentation and then discussions about various problems that one may experience while working with input/output. It was interesting to see some observation by people that have no much experienced about buttons and the noise that they may produce, then … how do we do debouncing.

Tinusaur Workshop Plovdiv Hackafe

Part 2 (day 2) was soldering. Everyone got Tinusaur Starter 2 kit. No one had difficulties assembling the board – there’s no much you can get wrong with this board.

One of my friends shot a timelapse at one of the tables.

Part 3 (day 2) was the fun part.

We wrote the blinking LED program – that was easy.

Then we started experimenting.

As it is an old Bulgarian custom to wear Martenitsa in March we made some blinking ones with the Tinusaur.

We also managed to play polyphonic tunes using ELM – Wavetable Melody Generator.

But the most unusual thing we did was to make an old floppy disk drive play a melody.

Thanks to Vencislav Atanasov (https://github.com/user890104) for the idea.

The inspiration was from Moppy – the Musical Fl oppy by SammyIAm.

 

Oh, by the way, incase you’ve not heard it yet 🙂 …

Tinusaur Project Crowdfunding Indiegogo

We have recently launched a Tinusaur crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo so if you like what we’re doing please support us at http://igg.me/at/tinusaur.

 

The Second Tinusaur Workshop

The second Tinusaur workshop took place last Saturday (on the 14th of February) in the Veliko Turnovo – University “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”.

Tinusaur Second Workshop

We first taught soldering with some simple kits for the most inexperienced and the Tinusaur Starter for others. Then we wrote few simple programs – blinking LED and making sound with buzzer.

The youngest were 2 children – 8 and 11 years old. 🙂

The The First Tinusaur Workshop was exactly 2 month ago.

The First Tinusaur Workshop

The first official Tinusaur workshop took place last Sunday (on the 14th of December) in the Veliko Turnovo University “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”. It was really great!

The workshop was attended by 22 people of age 16 to 44.

The Tinusaur Workshop

As you may have guessed already it was for the absolute beginners so we first learned how to solder basic things like resistors, capacitors and other small parts. Then we move to soldering The Tinusair Board.

The second part was programming the with the “Hello World” of the microcontrollers – a blinking LED.

Not all people who wanted could attend the even so we may organize another one in the first months of the next year.